We had the good fortune of connecting with Kyoko Caulfield and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kyoko, why did you pursue a creative career?
My artistic career started by joining the art club to spend more time with a boy I had a crush on, and grew into my hobby, my career path, and eventually my whole life. I started by painting portraits. Even when I worked a retail job with no connection to art, I would ask my coworkers to pose for paintings to practice my skills. After that, I expanded to textile art, photography, writing, and sculpting. Although I employ a range of methods when producing my art, it all reflects my Asian heritage and mixed-race background.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I took an unorthodox route to become an artist: I took a gamble and posted my work on reddit. Because everyone’s submissions get put in the same “pile” (as opposed to Instagram or twitter, where you have followers), only a few people will see your post, and that’s the end of it. However, one of my posts, a picture of a hand-sewn kimono I had made from boxer shorts and button-down shirts, gained traction, and suddenly hundreds of thousands of people had seen it. Major news sites and AAPI celebrities had reposted it, and that kimono now hangs in the Wing Luke Museum in downtown Seattle. The problem with that route though, is that it’s hard to replicate. It’s predicated mostly on chance. That’s the biggest challenge I currently work with: sharing my work in a way where it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, and so far the best advice I’ve found is to identify what your creative niche is and then work with that. Find what makes your work unique, and for me it’s my interpretation of the Asian-American experience.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
For vintage shopping, I love Space City Vintage in Little Tokyo, MEOWMEOWZ! in Pasadena, and East/West Shop in Chinatown.
I spend most of my time eating in Chinatown because there are so many incredible food spots, but to name a few I would love to shoutout Pearl River Deli, Lasita, Lao Tao Taiwanese Street Food, and Thank You Coffee.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout is dedicated to my dad. I never felt ashamed or concerned about art being a viable career option thanks to his constant help and encouragement. He helped me build my own panels to paint on when I couldn’t afford the ones at the supply store, drove me around to location scout for photoshoots, and gave me valuable feedback on the pieces I wasn’t sure about. His love and support allowed me to feel confident pursuing art.
Other: Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/caulfieldart